The Atlanta Falcons today announced that tight end Tony Gonzalez has informed the team that he will return for the 2013 season.
"We are very pleased that Tony has decided to come back for another season," said Head Coach Mike Smith. "He has been a key component to our success during his four years and it is great to have the opportunity to coach him for a fifth season. Tony is one of the hardest working players I have ever been around and it will be good to have his leadership and work ethic back in our locker room."
Gonzalez, 6-5, 247 pounds, was originally selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round (13th overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Falcons in exchange for Atlanta's second round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft on April 23, 2009. Gonzalez was named to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl for the 13th time in his career and was selected as a first team All-Pro for the sixth time in 2012 after leading the team with 93 receptions for 930 yards with eight touchdowns. His 93 catches and 930 receiving yards were franchise records for a tight end. Last season, Gonzalez became the first tight end and eighth player in NFL history to record 100 career touchdown catches. He also tied WR Tim Brown's NFL record with his 10th consecutive season with 70-or-more catches.
"Tony has been vital to our success over the last four seasons and we are excited that he has decided to return for a fifth season," stated General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. "He is a great teammate and is a leader of our football team on the field and in the community. Tony leads by example and his professionalism has paid dividends across our entire organization, and we are very happy to have him as a member of our team."
The future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame ranks second in NFL history with 1,242 career receptions and his 103 career touchdown catches are the sixth most in League annals. He is the first tight end and eighth player in NFL history to record 14,000 receiving yards, and his 14,268 career receiving yards rank seventh all time. Gonzalez ranks first in NFL history in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions among tight ends. He also owns NFL records for 100-yard receiving games (30), Pro Bowl appearances (13) and 1000-yard seasons by a tight end (four).
In four seasons with the Falcons, Gonzalez has recorded 326 receptions for 3,328 yards with 27 touchdowns. He continues to be one of the NFL's most productive tight ends ranking among the League leaders at the position in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2012.